Thursday, July 3, 2014

Feel the power in the upscale Infiniti QX80 sport-ute

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website  via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at

Sacramento, California – OK, I’m weary these Infiniti QX small guys, the 50, 60 and 70 versions.  Give me something big, something I can sink my teeth into…

And, whoa, maybe I can’t handle it!

Look at this 2014 Infiniti QX80 AWD sport-utility vehicle monster they gave me for a week.  Wow, what a brute. It’s a rolling sovereign nation.  Starting price: $64,450.  Mine with a generous portion of luxurious goodies came to $70,095 on the bottom line.

Yes, we’re in the rich fantasy class here, and once I was driving the QX80, I quickly adopted the attitude of, “I’ve got it and I’m flaunting it.”  Nobody had to know that I was test driving it for only a week.

Good times?  Let me tell you, mashing the accelerator linked to that 5.6-liter V-8 engine with 400 horsepower was a power trip worth remembering.  You get just a little push in the back and a mighty roar does eventually make its way into the cockpit, but the real charge is the feel of this much machinery moving that quickly.

Given that the front end of the QX80 looks capable of knocking down a herd of charging bulls, nobody dares get in the way.  I could get used to this.

From the cockpit, I’m surrounded by a sea of comfort/convenience features and technology mind-blowers.  Voice-recognition, heated 10-way power driver’s seat, power moonroof, blind-spot detection, triple zone climate control (it can seat up to eight, by the way) and the absolutely-must-have Zagat Survey Restaurant Guide so I can zero in on the shortest route to by my next $100 steak dinner.

Yeah, you start to think like that after you’ve been in this SUV for awhile … five minutes in my case.

I’m also impressed with lengthy list of safety and security features.  The QX80 has enough of these to make you wonder how anybody could get hurt driving the thing.  And prospective SUV-stealers, don’t even think about it.  This Infiniti is going nowhere without the fob-holding owner inside it.

Two things that were not impressive: fuel mileage of only 14 miles per gallon in the city and 20 mpg on the highway, plus a way-too-sensitive lane departure-warning system.  I know I’m getting grumpy-old as I’m increasingly losing my patience with various systems warning me that my driving is about to cause a disaster.  But hey, can you give me a break when I’m just easing onto a freeway exit ramp?

Bottom line, this QX80 is a giant-size luxury liner of the highest order…royalty if you will. And while it might not be for me – or even within purchase reach by throwing in my life savings – it is pretty incredible for what it is.  For the big luxo SUV-loving set, it has earned an “A” grade for sure.

And spoiler alert: Infiniti already has unveiled the 2015 QX80, sporting a new exterior design and some interior refinements as well.  Just so you know, the 2015 version remains large.

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